On October 17, 2019, one year after it became officially legal to smoke and vape cannabis in Canada, it also became legal to eat it and rub it on your body. So, how does that affect your OHS policy?
WHAT IT MEANS
Legalization of cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals has gotten way less attention than its smoke-related predecessor. And for good reason. The latest round of legalization is little more than an expansion in scope. Substantively, the rules governing cannabis in the workplace remain the same.
WHAT TO DO
Even though the new round of legalization has only marginal practical impact, there is one tweak you may need to make to your anti-drug and testing policies to deal with it. Specifically, make sure your ban on worker use of cannabis isn’t based on “smoking or vaping” but on consumption in all forms.
- Bad: Employer has a zero tolerance policy with regard to the workplace “smoking or vaping of or impairment by cannabis. . .”
- Good: Employer has a zero tolerance policy with regard to the workplace “smoking, vaping, eating, inhaling, topical application or any other method of consuming or impairment by cannabis. . .”
- Better: Employer has a zero tolerance policy with regard to the workplace “use of or impairment by cannabis regardless of method of consumption”
- Best: Employer has a zero tolerance with regard to the workplace “use or impairment by drugs, alcohol or other intoxicating substances, whether legal or illegal.”
DO A CANNABIS POLICY AUDIT
While you’re revisiting your anti-drug and alcohol policies, here are 2 things to check:
1. Base Ban on Fitness for Duty
First, make sure the drug and alcohol use prohibitions of your policy are based on fitness for duty rather than on legality, morality or even zero tolerance by vetting it against the OHSI Fitness for Duty and Substance Abuse Policy.
2. Vet Your Testing Provisions
Use the OHSI Model Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy to ensure your own alcohol and drug testing provisions are comprehensive and legally sound under privacy, discrimination and other laws.